Our first morning in Varanasi was early, it is amazing how many early days we have had here. It is kind of ridiculous how many early mornings there are. It is not much like a holiday when you have to wake up early every day. Oh well, such is life, there is so much to see in India you have to wake up early in the morning. Right now I am Kathmandu in Nepal, I am a few days behind and I don’t have much time to update everything. We ran into some problems in Nepal, once we got here there was a road ban, protesters burnt 2 buses and the bus drivers said that they were not part of this event and didn’t want to be a part of it, as a result there was a strike on the roads, the road that we needed to use. As a result we had to take a plane to fly to the next spot. Don’t worry though, Tanya and I are great.
Back to Varanasi, early morning, we got into a boat, the same one as the night before, we went up stream a little and just saw how people act around the holiest river in the world. Saw some people doing some Hindu rituals (there do them twice a day), saw some people bathing in the water, so others cleaning clothing. Watched the sun rise, and saw the furnace that people are cremated in (remember if you are cremated in Varanasi you go straight to Nirvana). One oven had been burning non stop for hundreds of years, never stopping. There are many old people here, people that will be dead soon, it is like any retirement place, but with added poverty and a severe lack of privacy, so everything is out in the open. It’s a shock at first, but once you get used to it and realize that part of life is dying, it is not that bad.
After this we were off to were the Buddha did his first sermon. This was a one hour ride in majorly congested traffic, the smell of 2-stroke fumes, mixed with diesel fumes, with the occasional inscents smell made for a long uncomfortable ride. Once we were there we walked around, there was a handful of us (not everyone went) and I wish I didn’t go. Maybe if we hired a guide to tell us what was going on. But all we could see is ruins, and it was boring, everyone was tired. So we left for the hotel, on the ride back Tanya and I were in the back seat (the very back seat) of the Land Cruiser (there were seats in the trunk). With all the fumes, stop and go traffic and the long ride it was very uncomfortable, making the trip not worth it at all. Both Tanya and I didn’t feel very good afterwards.
Life was about to get a lot better, as soon as we got back to the hotel and laid in bed to calm our stomachs we had a massage. This was great, from south India, we got this full body massage. It was just great, I have never had a massage before, so I don’t know what it is like to have one, but this one was pretty good, afterwards we felt so good. It was like we did some exercise, all our muscles felt good (not the bad feeling of exercise). Another bonus of the massage was that it only cost us Rs600 (about $13). We spent the rest of the day doing nothing, went to the market and bought some goods (chips, fruit), the next day we had a long trek, 250km to Lumbini, we have two private jeeps to take us, so we need some food for the trip. Another early morning ahead of us, so we were off to bed early.